EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
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EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
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Property from the Collection of the Viennese Cabaret and Film Star Fritz Grünbaum
EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)

Schwarzes Mädchen

EGON SCHIELE (1890-1918)
Schwarzes Mädchen
signed and dated 'SCHIELE EGON. 11.' (lower left)
gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper
17 5/8 x 12 ½ in. (44.6 x 31.6 cm.)
Executed in 1911
Franz Friedrich "Fritz" Grünbaum, Vienna (by 1925, from whom spoliated after March 1938).
Gutekunst & Klipstein, Bern (1956).
Galerie St. Etienne, New York (acquired from the above, September 1956).
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio (acquired from the above, 1958).
Restituted to the heirs of Fritz Grünbaum, 2024.
J.T. Soby, "Two Masters of Expressionism" in The Saturday Review, vol. 40, no. 9, 2 March 1957, pp. 28-29 (illustrated).
A. Werner, "Schiele and Austrian Expressionism" in Arts, vol. 35, no. 1, October 1960, p. 47 (illustrated).
E. Mitsch, Egon Schiele, Salzburg, 1974, pp. 134 and 258 (illustrated in color, p. 135, pl. 20).
J. Kallir, Egon Schiele: The Complete Works, New York, 1998, p. 446, no. 861 (illustrated; illustrated again, p. 106, fig. 52).
R. Steiner, Egon Schiele: The Midnight Soul of the Artist, Cologne, 2001, p. 35 (illustrated in color).
R. Price, ed., Egon Schiele: The Ronald S. Lauder and Serge Sabarsky Collections, exh. cat., Neue Galerie, New York, 2005, p. 123.
Vienna, Kunsthandlung Würthle, Egon Schiele, December 1925-January 1926, no. 63 (titled Sitzendes Mädchen).
Bern, Gutekunst & Klipstein, Egon Schiele: Bilder, Acquarelle, Zeichnungen, Graphik, September-October 1956, p. 19, no. 14 (illustrated).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele: Watercolors and Drawings, January-February 1957, p. 13, no. 6 (illustrated, p. 15).
Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art; New York, Galerie St. Etienne; Louisville, J.B. Speed Museum; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Egon Schiele, October 1960-May 1961, no. 21 (illustrated, pl. 21).
Berkeley, University Art Gallery of the University of California and Pasadena Art Museum, Viennese Expressionism: 1910-1924, The Works of Egon Schiele with Work by Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, February-April 1963, p. 19, no. 40 (illustrated).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Egon Schiele: Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections, March-April 1965, p. 12, no. 26 (illustrated, pl. 11).
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, 2. Internationale der Zeichnung, July-September 1967, p. 347, no. 30 (illustrated).
New York, Galerie St. Etienne, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, November-December 1980, p. 91 (illustrated, pl. 31).
Vienna, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien, Otto Kallir-Nirenstein: Ein Wegbereiter Osterreichischer Kunst, February-April 1986, p. 74, no. 160 (illustrated, p. 73).
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Modern and Contemporary Realisms, August 2013-June 2014.

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Executed with a deft combination of gouache, watercolor and pencil, Egon Schiele’s Schwarzes Mädchen of 1911 demonstrates the stylistic developments that took place in the artist’s work over the course of this important year. At this time, Schiele had begun to move away from the more angular depictions of the human figure towards a more delicate, measured approach to form. This shift was due in part to Schiele’s embrace of watercolor. Honing his mastery of this medium, Schiele was able to play with striking contrasts of pigment to gain increasingly expressive effects. As the present work shows, Schiele played with the visual juxtaposition between the woman’s voluminous black skirt, applied with soft strokes of translucent black pigment, the dense curls of her thick tumbling hair, and the soft delicacy of her bare torso and chest.
The striking dark-haired figure in Schwarzes Mädchen clearly captured Schiele’s imagination—she was the protagonist for a small series of works on paper, one of which is now in The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and another in the Leopold Museum, Vienna (Kallir, nos. 858-861), as well as an oil painting, to which the present work directly relates (Kallir, no. 200; present location unknown). While two of these works feature the woman in a more sexually explicit pose, lying backwards, with her arms and skirt raised, and staring out towards the viewer, in Schwarzes Mädchen, Schiele has depicted her in a moment of introspection. She appears seated and at ease, no longer performing for a viewer—or the artist—gazing out of the picture plane with what seems to be an air of melancholy, as if lost in contemplation.
Over the course of 1911 Schiele began executing bolder, more erotic works. At this time, he had recently begun a relationship with Wally Neuzil. She was not only an important model for the artist, but her presence in his life affected his depictions of women more broadly. As a result of this relationship, Schiele’s awareness and understanding of women changed. His depictions became both more sexually, as well as psychologically charged, as if Schiele was presenting the appearance of the model together with something of her mood and personality, as well as his own feelings towards her, in the same work. This complexity of feeling and emotion is demonstrated in Schwarzes Mädchen. Her gaze remains inscrutable, leaving the viewer to ponder the narrative surrounding her.
The way in which Schiele depicted his female subjects was inspired, in part, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose work he had first seen two years before he executed the present Schwarzes Mädchen, in 1909. While Lautrec’s adept use of watercolor, gouache and pencil was shared by Schiele, it was the Post-Impressionist’s unflinching depictions of women and intriguing explorations of sexuality which had the most lasting effect on the young Schiele. As Otto Benesch has written, Lautrec had “made an enormous impression on Schiele through his mercilessly bitter representation, through his investigation of the female psyche” (quoted in F. Whitford, Egon Schiele, London, 1981, p. 60). Schwarzes Mädchen, which pictures the female figure in a state of undress and in what appears to be a moment of private repose, appears closely related to Lautrec’s own depictions of performers at rest.

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